CABI Blog

The antioxidant protective effect of fruits and vegetables, notably tomatoes and green leafy vegetables, is well known. But did you know that a wine extract can protect your skin against the damaging effects of UV radiation?

Sunburn, immune suppression and skin cancers develop from overexposure of skin to solar UV radiation, which results in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Among the preventative and protective strategies against the harmful effects of UV to the skin is the application of antioxidants.

I was intrigued to see a paper by an Italian group of researchers (In vitro protective effect of a Jacquez grapes wine extract on UVB-induced skin damage) on this potential use for wine extract. The extract contained a significant level of proanthocyanidins, together with lower amounts of anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids. It reduced skin damage in studies using a tissue culture model of human epidermis, and in a previous study topical application of the gel protected the skin of healthy volunteers. I was even more intrigued to find out that oral administration of some botanical extracts can be as successful as topical application! It doesn’t have to be wine extract – green tea has also shown promise.

Searching CAB Abstracts (skin and ultraviolet radiation and antioxidant properties) showed that photoprotection by natural products is an emerging worldwide therapeutic approach for free-radical-mediated diseases including cancer. Pharmacological studies on UV skin damage prevention by plant extracts are reported in papers published in around 30 different journals, ranging from the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (from Japan).

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